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How students are engaging with libraries on the brink of Web 3.0

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How libraries affect performance

The ultimate test of positive student involvement in libraries is better examination results. That is precisely what a six-month JISC-funded study at the University of Huddersfield is looking into. It will be completed in July 2011.

The genesis of the study lies in recent in-house research by librarians to identify which people were not making the most use of facilities. This study took into account:

  • visits to the library
  • book issues
  • a count of logins to e-resources.

Graham Stone, electronic resources manager and project leader, says:

"From that you can trace it back to which courses students are on and do a count of the percentage use of resources."

It became clear that students in some subjects rarely came near the building, begging the question of whether this could be linked to the level of degree that students gain.

The university registry quickly approved the idea of further research, which led to the funding bid. The survey will also examine data provided by the universities of Teesside, Salford, Exeter, Lincoln, John Moores, De Montford and Bradford.

The students and departments which "score" high will be models of good practice and should help in the bid to get low or no-use students to engage more. They will also reveal how service improvements can be made, and provide insights into students' attainment in other years, not just their finals.

Better results would not harm the university's ability to market itself well and Graham adds:

"It could also help us in talking to schools and encouraging students to come here, if the university has a good reputation for the quality of its library service."